Portuguese students do worse in Mathematics and Reading in PISA 2022

International Student Assessment Program (PISA) once again analyzed the Mathematics, Reading and Science knowledge of students from around the world

Portuguese 15-year-old students worsened their performances in the 2022 PISA international Mathematics and Reading tests, reversing the improvement trend that had been registered over the last decade.

The International Student Assessment Program (PISA) once again analyzed the Mathematics, Reading and Science knowledge of students from all over the world – in 2022 around 690 students from 81 countries and economies participated – and the portrait of student performance stands out «an unprecedented break», in which Portugal was no exception.

The almost seven thousand students from 224 Portuguese schools who took the 2022 tests achieved worse results than their colleagues in 2018, placing Portugal among the countries that dropped the most in Mathematics, says the OECD report released today.

«Compared to 2018, average performance fell by ten points in Reading and almost 15 points in Mathematics, which is equivalent to three quarters of a year of learning», highlights Mathias Cornmann, secretary general of the OECD, in the text introduction to the report.

In Portugal, student results were even more serious: students obtained 472 points in Mathematics, that is, 20,6 points less than in the tests carried out in 2018. Compared to the results in the 2012 tests, they dropped by 14,6. XNUMX points.

Portugal thus appears on the list of 19 countries that lowered Mathematics by more than 20 points, with grades falling among the most needy students, but also among the most privileged.

Three out of every ten students were unable to demonstrate that they had minimal knowledge of Mathematics, that is, they did not reach level two on a scale of six values.

Only 7% of Portuguese students stood out, reaching the highest proficiency levels (5 and 6) in Mathematics, a subject that was once again dominated by six Asian countries.

In Singapore, 41% of students demonstrated very high knowledge, as did 32% of students in Taiwan.

This was followed by students from Macau and China (29% with very good results), Hong Kong (27%), Japan (23%) and Korea (23%).

Socioeconomic condition is one of the factors that most influences academic results and, in Portugal, Portuguese students from more privileged families had an average score of 522 points, that is, 101 points above the average of the most deprived students.

This difference in results is not far from the average of OECD countries (93 points), according to the study released today, which looked for success stories among those most in need.

In Portugal, around 9% of disadvantaged students managed to be among the best students in Mathematics, with the OECD average being 10%.

Although the 2022 PISA is more focused on portraying Mathematics knowledge, a Reading test was also carried out and, once again, the average results worsened: Portuguese students obtained 477 points, which represents a drop of 15,2 points compared to 2018 and 12,8 points compared to 2012.

Despite the decline, 77% of Portuguese students managed to reach at least level two, above the OECD average (74%). This result means that these young people can, at least, identify the main ideas in a text of moderate length, find information and reflect on the purpose and form of a text.

Only 5% of Portuguese people managed to obtain a level 5 or 6 in Reading (7% is the OECD average), a level that already implies being able to understand quite long texts, dealing well with abstract concepts and being able to establish distinctions between a fact and an opinion.

In the Science test, Portugal appears as a success story, countering the trend of worsening results: In 2022, they obtained 484 points, just 7,3 points less than in 2018 and 2012.

The report indicates that 78% of students achieved at least level two (OECD is 76%). Among these, 5% performed very well (levels 5 and 6), showing that they were able to creatively and autonomously apply their science knowledge in a variety of situations.

In a comparison between genders, Portuguese boys are once again better at Mathematics (plus 11 points) and girls at Reading (plus 21 points).

In the introductory text of the report, Mathias Cornmann warned that «one in four 15-year-olds is currently considered to be performing poorly in Mathematics, Reading and Science, on average, in OECD countries».